NEW YORK, June 6, (AFP): Boeing will not deliver aircraft to Iran in light of US sanctions, effectively aborting a pair of large contracts with Iranian carriers, a Boeing spokesman said Wednesday. “We have not delivered any aircraft to Iran, and given we no longer have a license to sell to Iran at this time, we will not be delivering any aircraft,” the Boeing spokesman said. “We did not factor the Iran orders into our order backlog either.”
The announcement follows President Donald Trump’s decision last month to pull the United States out of the landmark 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and major powers that had cleared the way for a relaxation of sanctions on Iran.
Boeing had previously said it would respect US policy on Iran and had pushed back the delivery dates on the Iran planes without commenting directly on deliveries. Boeing and Airbus were among the companies to receive US Treasury licenses to begin conducting business in Iran under strict oversight after sanctions were eased. Boeing in December 2016 announced an agreement to sell 80 aircraft valued at $16.6 billion to Iran Air.
Boeing also announced a contract in April 2017 to sell Iran Aseman Airlines 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for $3 billion, with purchase rights for another 30 aircraft.
Last week, a person close to the matter said engineering giant General Electric would cease all activities in Iran by November 4 and meet a 180-day deadline set by the Trump administration to exit the country.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Iran on Wednesday that its plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity took it close to a “red line”, as Europe sought to protect its companies from a nuclear standoff between the US and Tehran. Iran confirmed Wednesday that it was in “preparatory works” to restart nuclear activities in the event that a 2015 accord with world powers on limiting its atomic programme falls apart.
In such a scenario, Iran could “restart its activities without any limits,” Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Reza Najafitold reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the IAEA’s board in Vienna. The announcement piled pressure on France, Britain and Germany, who are scrambling to save the deal after the US sensationally pulled out a month ago. Le Drian called Iran’s announcement that plans to boost its enrichment capacity “inopportune”. “It is always dangerous to firt with red lines,” he said, while emphasising that these plans did not constitute a breach of the accord. The deal, which offers sanctions relief in return for guarantees that Tehran would not be able to build an atomic bomb, is hanging by a thread after the US announced plans to restore sanctions, diminishing the incentive for Iran to remain on board. Tehran has put the ball in Europe’s camp, demanding it come up with an economic package to offset the effects of the US withdrawal.
“The bottom line is that unless Tehran sees some benefits, it is unsustainable to continue limiting its nuclear programme, which is civilian in their eyes,” Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran analyst for the European Council on Foreign Relations in London, told AFP. “In practice it will revert back to the sanctions years when it had no restrictions.” Le Drian warned Tehran that Europe would not be able to stand idly by if Iran takes its nuclear programme “to the next level”. “The Iranians must realise that if they violate the accord they will face new sanctions,” he told Europe 1 radio. A spokesman for the German foreign ministry also described the plan as “not helpful at this time” saying it did not “contribute to the building of trust, in which Iran should also have an interest.”